On a recent blog post, Mary DeMuth responds to a disheartened reader who is feeling far from God. The reader writes:
“I am a Christian but somewhere along the way, I lost being comforted by my faith. I don’t have ‘the peace that passes all understanding’ ever. Scripture doesn’t comfort me, nor prayer, nor anything. I am never relieved or encouraged or feel better. I know it’s not about all feelings…but it seems to me that others enjoy this blessing. I know scripture is filled with comforting words, bit I am immune to them. Have you ever heard of this? Any ideas? It’s hard to turn to God for help with problems when I feel nothing.”
Have you ever felt alone in this way? Have you lacked peace and comfort, feeling distant from God? Mary has, she admits.
“Sometimes God seems near enough to touch. Other times His distance (or seeming distance) stings.”
So she offers 18 questions to ask yourself, if you’re feeling a rift in your relationship with the Lord. A few of them are:
1. “Am I spending time in God’s Word? (I will be very honest here. Lately, as I’ve battled sadness these past few months, I’ve neglected this. I’ve interacted with the Bible as a writer, but not simply quietly reading the Bible). Every time I’ve picked it up for quiet pleasure, I am renewed. But it’s easy to back away, or rationalize not reading it. That doesn’t mean God only reaches us through His word, but it is one good place.
2. Am I spending time alone in quiet? Again, when life rushes out of control, I feel very disconnected to Him. When I stop and quiet myself, I don’t have all the voices, noise, and cultural hollering to mess with my attention.
3. Have I prayed specifically that He will reach me in me-shaped ways? I finally prayed this last week, and I boldly asked for the same prayer from my life group at church. The result? Oh my. God surprised me with random texts, comments on this blog, and people coming out of the woodwork saying things like, ‘I don’t know why, but God has laid you on my heart.’”
(To read the full list of questions, click here!)
All Christians go through times of mountains and valleys. It’s easy to go through life when we feel God’s presence and our lives are full of blessings. It’s in those hard times, those times of doubt, fear, and transition, when we must encourage one another and cling even closer to God. On Crosswalk.com, Sarah Coleman speaks to those of us dealing with transitions and uncertainty of the future.
“What happens when a door closes and another one doesn't open? How do you handle life in the hall?
Longing to move on yet stuck in the middle. Ready to run but the baton not passed on. Life is moving all around but you are standing still. Hallways are blank, small, and empty spaces. A means to an end. The prelude to the main event.
But imagine a home with no hall. An office building without a corridor. Where doors lead from one room to another without transition. It would be unpleasant and awkward.
Halls are more valuable than they seem. Transitions are a natural part of life. Human babies have a nine month gestation. Toddlers learn to crawl before they walk. Teenagers receive a learner's license before permission to drive. Couples are engaged before they marry. The transitory purpose is more than optional, it is necessary.”
It’s in those times of waiting in the “hallway” that it might be tempting to fade away from our faith and experience distance from God. But, Crosswalk author Felicia Alvarez insists, it’s important to never forget that there are 5 Things We Can Know About God – even through the doubt and fear.
1. God is the All-Powerful, All-Knowing, All-Present Creator (Isaiah 45:12, Job 12:10, and Matthew 10:30-31)
2. God is the Ultimate Promise Keeper (Numbers 23:19, Psalm 136:1, Nahum 1:7, Hebrews 13:5)
3. God is our Redeemer though Christ Jesus (1 John 4:9)
4. God is our Loving Father (John 1:12, Luke 15:3-5, Mathew 10:31)
5. God is Holy (Colossians 1:21-22)
So what about you? When have you struggled to feel God’s presence? What helped you in your times in the valley?
Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor at Crosswalk
Publication date: November 12, 2014